Entrepreneurial Mind of the month: Eric Hester

Name: Eric Hester
Business: Biotic Bloom
Occupation: PhD Student Microbiology
Life quote: “Things take time”
Wakes up in the middle of the night for: Too much coffee during the day

Nijmegen is Green Capital of 2018! To celebrate this, we would like to introduce you to Eric. As the founder of startup Biotic Bloom, Eric is committed to improving the environment. Together with his co-founders, he helps farmers to reduce the waste of fertilizers, which causes harm of aquatic life, pollutes our drinking water and has a huge contribution to climate change. By creating a powder that farmers can use while fertilizing their crops, he contributes to make the world a little bit cleaner every day!

Tell us something about Biotic Bloom!

“During my PhD, I read a lot about fertilizers. They are very wasteful: most of the fertilizers do not make it to the plant and run out of the soil into canals and rivers. Anyhow, farmers need them to grow enough crops to meet our food supply. I wanted to apply my knowledge by solving this problem.” Eric visited pitch competitions for entrepreneurs and started a course in entrepreneurship and innovation at Radboud University. This was the early start of Biotic Bloom. “The Biotic Bloom powder is equivalent to a living sponge”, he explains. “The waste of fertilizers is kept in the soil by micro-organisms living in the soil around crops, which reduces the waste.”

Come out of your comfort zone! Meet that stranger and talk to them. The best way to achieve goals is to take small steps.
— Eric

What is it like to be an entrepreneur?

According to Eric, an advantage of being a young entrepreneur is having a lot of energy to grow a network very fast. “I like to be connected with the world outside of academia. By translating knowledge into something people can use, I am in touch with different kinds of people.” Also, being a young entrepreneur keeps him occupied: “I always wanted to have a business of my own, but I also have to spend a lot of time on my PhD-program”.

Why did you choose the Heyendaal Campus?

“Back in California, where I come from, it was a very international community. I had a Dutch colleague who connected me with the Radboud University. The Heyendaal Campus feels like it has a goal: it wants to grow and become something bigger. It cares about changing and becoming better. That is the best environment for a start-up.”